Michael Weatherly on Tony & Ziva: “It Was Like a Herpes Virus” on ‘NCIS’

Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo starred in NCIS together from 2005 until the latter left the series to explore other opportunities in 2013. Citing vague personal reasons as the catalyst to her decision, Pablo later revealed that her character, Ziva, was not being treated with the narrative “respect” she deserved.

While on NCIS, Cote de Pablo’s Ziva boasted quite the steamy will-they-won’t-they romance with Michael Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo. Fans could sense the chemistry between the two actors, and wanted their characters to seal the deal from the get-go.

Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo
Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo | Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

One of the most famous slow-boiling romances in all of TV history, Cote de Pablo’s departure was met with widespread skepticism; many thought the show would fail to bring in the same crowd, as a result of losing one of its most captivating plotlines. However, the show kept on kicking. Now, Cote de Pablo is back, and fans are curious if Michael Weatherly’s return is in the cards as well.

Whether Weatherly will reprise his role in the CBS phenomenon remains a mystery; however, if he is to return to the show – and revisit the Ziva-Tony dynamic fans love – he may succumb to a narrative “herpes virus” once again.

Why Michael Weatherly called Ziva and Tony’s relationship in ‘NCIS’ a “herpes virus”

During an interview with Buzz Feed, Michael Weatherly discussed NCIS, his role in the hit procedural, as well as his relationship with Cote de Pablo and the dynamic between their respective characters.

The interviewer, referencing the come-and-go nature inherent to Ziva and Tony’s dynamic, asked, “Did you not foresee that it would progress like this for such a long time? Weatherly stated:

“It was like a herpes virus. It laid dormant for so long, I thought it had gone away. And I’m talking simplex 1. I’m not referring to any sort of genital herpes. But still, the simplex 1 can be painful and unsightly. Not to compare Tiva to herpes — I guess that’s unfair. But I did not see it coming. I still don’t see it coming — not in any real way.”


According to Weatherly, the romantic feelings between DiNozzo and David had, at some points, “laid dormant” for so long that he thought the plotline would no longer rear its head. However, fans of the show know that the two characters eventually reached the romantic peak fans craved.

Michael Weatherly goes on to explain– not knowing where the show would eventually take “Tiva” – the various reasons the two characters would not have worked out. He told BuzzFeed:

“She’s a ninja assassin with all sorts of issues. Yes, we know he’s emotionally arrested and he has some commitment phobias, but look at her! Have we seen a successful relationship pop out of her?”

If Michael Weatherly’s Tony comes back to ‘NCIS,” will he and Ziva stand a chance?

If Michael Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo returns, it would be illogical for him to immediately trust Ziva. She disappeared and – unless new narratives for the past are constructed and presented – she did not keep the father of her child in the loop.

Ziva and Tony will have to work on mending their relationship, on a trust and companionship level – as two parents to the same child – before the romance starts boiling again.

Truth be told, a cameo appearance would not do the trick; it would not suffice to recapture a relationship that fortified NCIS for so many seasons. Ziva and Tony could use an entire spin-off, focusing on their relationship, the life-threatening obstacles they may be up against, and their daughter.